There are probably more bars and restaurants in New York City than anywhere else in the world but with gentrification spreading across the city, its getting harder and harder for business owners to hang a shingle in the Big Apple.
Boxers NYC is a highly popular gay sports bar in Chelsea that’s become a favorite of sports fans, LGBT athletic teams, Kathy Griffin (who guest-bartendered there once) and even The A List: New York (which has filmed there). So its not surprising the owners decided to open a second location in New York’s other gay ghetto, Hell’s Kitchen. They received provisional approval from Community Board 4, but grumpy residents worry it’ll disturb their tranquility and that the proposed location is too close to P.S. 111 on West 53rd Street. (New York zoning laws forbid bars from being within 200 feet of a school.)
Boxers co-owners Bob Fluet and Rob Hynds have tried to appease residents, but the situation has turned into a long-running saga, even by New York standards. Fluet and Hynds current proposal is to split the building into two businesses, a full-service bar and a no-alcohol taco shop on the side closer to P.S. 111. They’ve also discussed opening the bar at 4pm, after schoolchildren have gone home.
“Should it be a night club? As a gay parent of two, I would never want a nightclub there. Could it be a tavern that sells food? Yes, in my opinion I think that’s fair, Fluet told local news channel NY1. “Other than that, there may be nothing but having a derelict building for three, four years. Is that good for the neighborhood?”
Hynd’s and Fluet’s plans aren’t good enough for P.S. 111 principal Irma Medina, though: She e-mailed parents warning them that if the bar opened as planned, it would have scandalous underwear-only nights (something Fluet denies) and that the bar was “inappropriate for school-age children to be exposed to during the day while they are in a learning environment.”
Hey, this is New York City: We’re pretty sure these kids have seen worse than a few gay sports fans drinking beer.
The Community Board will make its final vote on October 5.
There are many, many other gay (and straight) bars in this neighborhood, so I don’t think most neighborhood residents are as opposed to this proposal as this posting would make it seem. And even for those opposed to the bar, it’s definitely not any sort of gay discrimination — they just don’t want any nightclub at this location.
There are lots of other vacant locations available in Hell’s Kitchen — if this particular building is a little too close to a school, why not just open on the next block? Personally, I think it’s probably a good idea to put a little bit of space between schools and nightclubs.
SIGH………….so how long before they decide to have a law where a white picket fence and a grass lawn have to go up in front of ever building?
The same thing happened here in Toronto a few years back. A gay pub opened up in the gay village in a location that was once a steakhouse frequented by a mainly straight crowd on their way to local sports events. The pub applied for a patio license and a few locals (straight parents who live in the area and have children who attend the school next door) were very vocal in their opposition. In the end, after many neighbourhood meetings, the pub opened and the concerns of the parents were found to be unwarranted.
I went to watch football at Bounce on 21st and 6th. It was amazing! I am actually writing this on behalf of a gtoup of people. There is a door guy wearing a suit during the day and by 3pm there is a line to get in. The door guys name is Arizona and by far is the coolest doorguy in the city! Forget the fact that he claims to be the biggest mexican on the planet he makes the place have a buzz. Definetely worthy of some kind of story. Bounce is like nothing I have ever seen.
Just a big fan of unique places!
You’re right – this is NEW YORK for crying out loud! If we can’t have a gay sports bar here, where can we? I am involved in the NY amateur boxing scene and I, personally, would love to go hang out in a place like this.
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